Well where have the past four weeks gone? It seems like every month goes quicker than the one before it! This month has been a really busy month for us with the beekeeping season now well underway and lots of jobs to be done. Lockdown has had a relatively small impact as we can still go and check our bees and make deliveries. Unfortunately but understandably both of our regular farmers markets have now been cancelled until restrictions are lifted. If you do want a delivery of our honey then either order online or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The month started with moving bees to the Oil Seed Rape (OSR), the honey we get from OSR is very light and sweet but has a tendency to granulate very fast. To make it more pleasant to eat we gently control the crystallisation so only small granules of sugar form which is much smoother and perfectly spreadable! This honey we sell as Soft Set and has become increasing popular with our customers over the past month or two.
Moving bees is always an interesting time, the night before I move bees I go around and strap each hive up so it can be moved without the floor and boxes becoming separated (If you want more info on the design of bee hives click here for a previous blog post on that topic). Early the next morning before the bees have had chance to go out foraging I go around closing the entrances before stacking them on the trailer. After checking the straps holding the bee hives on the trailer about 20 times (I always worry!!) I set off to the new location.
When I arrive I place wooden pallets down first and get them reasonably level with bricks under the corners if needed. Then the hives are set down on the pallet and the straps are taken off. Finally the entrance block is removed and the bees can then get out and fly, if everything has gone well then all of this should be done by about 8am and the bees haven’t been too disturbed.
The next job for the month was siting a container. Due to the expansion of Holt Hall Apiary there was no longer enough ‘bee proof’ storage, something that is very necessary in the autumn when bees are looking for food anywhere and unused frames covered in honey are irresistible but ‘robbing’ as its called isn’t something we want to encourage as it can help spread disease and incite bees to rob other hives which can actually kill weaker colonies.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the month has without a doubt been getting 60 households and schools from around the local area to decorate a bee hive for us. You will have seen from previous posts our hives are generally brown, well for the first time since I started beekeeping I painted them all white, they were then distributed to people who had volunteered their creative services via a Facebook post to some local pages.
The results have been absolutely fantastic, there are still a few boxes to collect but once they are all in they will be varnished so the designs can live outside year round and then I will be taking photos of every side of every box and will share on our Facebook, Instagram, and of course here next month. In the mean time here is a sample of what I’ve had back so far!
Thank you for reading our blog, and supporting our local business. Any shares on social media or through word of mouth would be massively appreciated as we are looking to increase our local deliveries to offset the closure of farmers markets.
Holt Hall Apiary
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